Searching for a reputable breeder is a process that takes time and effort. You’ll often find yourself on the breeder’s waiting list until the next litter born. It’s not about instant gratification – but it’s worth it to find a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy with a loving disposition and a healthy heritage.
There is, unfortunately, no universally accepted “seal of approval” for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders. It’s an area where you must use your judgment and “let the buyer beware.” Your own reasons for wanting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy will influence the type of dog and breeder you are looking for. If you want a show dog or an agility competitor, your criteria will be different than the family who just wants a companion pet.
Types of Breeders
You may hear the following terms applied to dog breeders. But keep in mind that it is possible to find quality dogs as well as poorly-bred dogs in all categories.
- Puppy Mills – This category is looked upon unfavorably by most members of the pet industry as “puppy mills” refer to the breeding of dogs in large quantities for sale. It is presumed that “quality” is sacrificed in order to raise dogs in “quantity.” A puppy mill is considered unlikely to be seriously interested in breeding dogs for the best possible health and temperament.
- Backyard Breeders – Have you ever known a family who bred their female dog so the family could enjoy watching the miracle of birth when the puppies arrived? That’s probably a good definition of a Back Yard Breeder. The danger here is that these breeders have not dedicated to breeding good dogs over a long period of time. They may or may not be well educated in terms of hereditary health issues and animal longevity.
- Hobby Breeders – By virtue of the name “Hobby Breeders”, you can assume that raising dogs is a part-time occupation for breeders in this category. It will be up to you to ask enough questions to determine whether the breeder is well-educated and passionate about breeding quality Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies, or whether they take only a casual interest in their breeding efforts.
- Show / Performance Kennels – You expect a breeder who is actively showing or entering his dogs in competition to be highly interested in breeding healthy dogs of good quality. However, if you are looking for a family pet and do not plan to show your dog, then you also want to satisfy yourself that the “professional” breeder is not solely focused on raising dogs with perfect conformation. You are looking for a breeder who is also raising dogs with pleasing temperaments.
Points to Discuss with a Reputable Breeder
The following topics are offered for your consideration in speaking with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders.
What do You Want?
Start by being clear on why you want a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy in the first place. Are you looking for a show dog or competitor? Or just a sweet cuddly family pet? In either case you want a Cavalier King Charles breeder who is concerned about dog health and hereditary issues, but the more serious you are about a show or performance dog, the more likely it is that you’ll need to restrict your search to professional breeders.
Location, Location, Location
If possible, try to find a reputable breeder located near your home. Even if the breeder does not have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy for sale at the moment, you will get the best impression of the breeder and the quality of his kennel by visiting the breeder and seeing his operation firsthand.
If you are able to find a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder within easy traveling distance, you also benefit from not needing the puppy to be shipped to you when it’s time to bring your new friend home.
The Breeder’s History
In your initial conversation with the Cavalier King Charles breeder, you’ll want to make general inquiries about how long the breeder has been working with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, how many dogs he or she keeps, how many litters he raises each year and get a general idea of his breeding objectives.
Ask for the Cavalier King Charles breeder’s references. References may include the breeder’s veterinarian as well as previous buyers. The fact that the breeder has kept in touch with the families who adopted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy from them suggests the breeder has a long-term and supportive interest in his dogs.
Expect the breeder to be registered with an accepted kennel club (American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Kennel Club, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Kennel Club – USA). However, membership does not ensure that the breeder is raising quality animals, so consider it a minimum requirement, but not a guarantee.
The Puppy’s Parents
Reputable Cavalier King Charles breeders are able to provide you with the pedigree and healthy histories for their breeding dogs. In fact, they should also be able to provide considerable information about the parents, grandparents and even great-grandparent dogs! You are looking for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with a heritage of dogs who have lived long, healthy lives. But it’s unrealistic to expect a breeder to produce a five generation pedigree without any health issues whatsoever. Mitral valve disease alone is so prevalent in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that you would seriously question any breeder who tells you his dogs are totally without health problems.
Keep in mind when looking for a family pet, you are looking for a dog that’s good on more than paper. Championship lines are wonderful, but you also want to discuss temperament with the breeder. Another reason for visiting nearby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders is that you can judge for yourself whether the adult dogs are friendly and of good disposition.
Ask the Cavalier King Charles breeder for the results of heart and eye screening he has requested for his dogs and how recently such examinations were performed. Inquire about evidence of patellar luxation and hip dysplasia in the bitch and sire. Finally, get a clear idea from the breeder what kind of examinations and vaccinations will be administered to your new Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy while in the breeder’s care.
Some Cavalier King Charles breeders offer health guarantees for their dogs. While this may seem like a responsible action for a breeder to take, consider carefully that many conditions will not become noticeable until your new pet is several years old. By then, your pet has become a member of the family and returning him to the breeder for replacement will be out of the question. The best protection you have against hereditary weaknesses is to examine the veterinarian’s certification that the bitch and sire were appropriately tested and to have your own vet examine your new puppy as soon as possible.
Expect a reputable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder to have a written contract for the sale of their puppies. This is a responsible business practice that clarifies the rights and responsibilities of both the buyer and the seller. If the breeder does not have a contract and is unwilling to put things in writing, you may want to look elsewhere.
Expect the Breeder to Interview You
The best Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders will want to ask you almost as many questions as you ask them. They are anxious to be sure you can provide a proper home for a new Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. Be prepared to answer questions such as “Have you owned a dog before?“ “Do you own other pets?“ “Will someone be home during the day with the puppy?“ “Do you have a fenced yard, or are you prepared to walk the puppy so he gets regular exercise?“
Don’t be offended by the breeder’s questions. Take it as a sign of their commitment to their dogs.